Price Points: Marble pastry boards

Marble pastry boards | H is for Home

If, like me, you’re an avid home baker, you’ll know that there’s always another piece of kitchen kit that you really, really need in your quest for perfection. Assorted tins, bannetons, scrapers & cutters, a grignette, a peel, baking stone or steel… the list is never-ending.

I’ve been watching lots of YouTube videos to hone my dough kneading technique. I’ve noticed how effortless it looks when people handle & shape their dough using marble pastry boards; especially those really loose, wet ones like ciabatta. It’s also good for (as the name suggests) rolling pastry. That sealed it, my next bit of baking equipment is going to be one of those marble pastry boards – the larger, the better.

  1. Typhoon marble 40x30cm rectangular work surface protector: £16.00, Tesco
  2. J by Jasper Conran – white marble pastry board (42x28cm): £30.00, Debenhams
  3. Marble board – dark or light colour by Marbletree (60x40cm): £69.00, Notonthehighstreet

Cakes & Bakes: Caramelised onion sourdough loaf

Home-made caramelised onion sourdough loaf | H is for Home #recipe #sourdough #baking #realbread

It’s still Sourdough September, and it was also GBBO‘s bread week, so today’s bake celebrates them both; I’ve made a caramelised onion sourdough loaf.

Caramalised onions | H is for Home

The sweet caramelised onion is a wonderful addition – and you can intensify the flavour further with the substitution of onion salt (instead of ‘plain’) to the dough.

Caramelised onion sourdough loaf dough in round banneton | H is for Home

I often find timing sourdough bread proofing stages challenging. So, although I specify rises in this recipe at room temperature, I sometimes have to put my loaf in the coldest room (believe me, it can get really chilly!) in the house for an overnight rise. Then, first thing next morning, I switch the oven on to pre-heat and get baking. This long, slow prove makes the taste of the loaf even more delicious!

Home-made caramelised onion sourdough loaf | H is for Home #recipe #sourdough #baking #realbread

We’ve had this loaf as an accompaniment to a tomato pasta dish – it makes a great mopper-upper! The following day we had what was left with goats cheese and salad.

Click here to save my caramelised onion sourdough recipe to Pinterest.

Caramelised onion sourdough loaf
Yields 1
Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the caramelised onions
  1. 2 medium-sized red or brown onions, finely sliced
  2. knob of butter
  3. pinch of salt
For the sourdough loaf
  1. 450g/1lb sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  2. 175ml/6⅛fl oz water
  3. 450g/1lb strong white flour
  4. 7g/¼ saltHome-made caramelised onion sourdough loaf ingredients
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For the caramelised onions
  1. On a medium heat, cook off the onions in the knob of butter adding a pinch of salt. Allow to brown before setting aside to cool
For the sourdough loaf
  1. Mix together the starter, water and salt
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the starter mixture
  3. Combine until everything is thoroughly mixed together and the dough begins to feel smooth
  4. Cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about an hour
  5. Fold the dough 8 times (8 single folds)
  6. Re-cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about 12 hours at room temperature or until the volume of dough doubles
  7. Turn out the dough out on to a lightly-floured work surface and stretch it out into a rectangle
  8. Spread the cooled caramelised onion mixture evenly on to the rectangle of dough
  9. With the short side facing you, fold the dough on to itself in four, equal lengths ensuring that the mixture runs throughout the dough
  10. Shape the filled dough into your preferred loaf shape (boule, batard, etc.) trying not to have any of the onion mixture poking through the top
  11. Place it into a well-floured (rice flour is preferred) proofing basket/banneton; cover and allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour or until doubled in size
  12. Preheat the oven to 260ºC/500ºF
  13. Once the dough is fully risen and the oven pre-heated, gently transfer the dough from the proofing basket to the baking tray, score the top of the loaf and bake at 260ºC/500ºF/Gas mark 10 for 10 minutes
  14. Turn the oven temperature down to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6 and bake for another 30 minutes
  15. Remove the loaf from the oven and put it on a wire rack to cool for at least an hour before slicing
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Sourdough beer loaf

Home-made sourdough beer loaf | H is for Home #sourdough #realbread #recipe

I’m continuing with Sourdough September this week and making a sourdough beer loaf using a dark, delicious porter from Acorn Brewery in Barnsley.

Sourdough beer loaf autolyse | H is for Home

I’ve been baking with sourdough – on and off – for a few years now and it can be hit & miss with the temperature of our house. This recipe that I’ve used talks about room temperature being 22ºC; we have a thermometer in our kitchen that never gets past 15ºC at the peak of summer! I’ve picked up a couple of tricks to improve the ambient environment for bread baking. In the winter, I simply put the proofing bowl/banneton near the wood-burner. In the summer I boil a mug of water in the microwave, remove it, put the bowl/banneton in and close the door. It usually works quite well.

Home-made sourdough beer loaf with bottle of Old Moor porter | H is for Home #sourdough #realbread #recipe

The web page where I found this recipe has lots of photos of the finished loaf uploaded by all the people that tried it. Lots of lovely, round boules and shapely batards. As you can tell from my photos, mine was a bit of a ‘nailed it’ attempt! It wasn’t the temperature but the consistency of my dough that was to blame.

Sliced, home-made sourdough beer loaf | H is for Home #sourdough #realbread #recipe

Starter hydration is described as a percentage – e.g. 100% hydration or 75% hydration. I wasn’t at school on the day percentages were taught and I’ve still not mastered them… maths was always my worst subject too! My starter is kept at the former percentage i.e. equal weight (not volume) of flour & water at each feeding. I don’t know where it went wrong to be honest. I should have gone with my instinct and added more flour – I could tell that I would have to pour my dough out of the banneton, almost as if it was a batter. Even so, it still managed something of a rise and tastes great! I will revisit this sourdough beer loaf recipe very soon and post the results below.

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest for later!

Sourdough beer loaf
Yields 1
Cook Time
50 min
Cook Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 400g/14oz strong white flour
  2. 100g/3½oz wholemeal flour
  3. 345g/12oz bottle of beer (I used most of a 500ml bottle of Old Moor porter brewed by Acorn Brewery of Barnsley here in Yorkshire)
  4. 75g/2⅔oz water
  5. 80g/2¾oz sourdough starter
  6. 12g/½oz saltHome-made sourdough beer loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pour 345g/12oz of room temperature beer into a bowl and mix thoroughly to release the carbonation
  2. Add the 500g/17⅔oz flour mixture to the beer and mix until thoroughly incorporated into a shaggy mass
  3. Cover and set aside (autolyse) at room temperature (22ºC/72ºF) for 2-3 hours
  4. Combine the salt, water and starter and mix thoroughly before adding to the dough
  5. Fold repeatedly until everything is thoroughly mixed together and the dough begins to feel smooth
  6. Cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about an hour
  7. Fold the dough 8 times (8 single folds)
  8. Re-cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about 12 hours at room temperature (22ºC/72ºF) or until the volume of dough doubles (optionally stretch and fold periodically)
  9. Turn out the fermented dough on a lightly-floured work surface and shape into your preferred loaf (boule, batard, etc.) and then place dough into a well-floured (rice flour is preferred) proofing basket/banneton; cover and allow to sit at room temperature (22ºC/72ºF) for about an hour
  10. After 30 minutes or so, place your preferred baking vessel, stone or tray (I used my pizza steel) in the oven and preheat to 260ºC/500ºF (or your vessel's maximum safe temperature).
  11. With the dough fully risen and oven pre-heated, gently transfer the dough from the proofing basket to the baking vessel, score the top of the loaf, and then bake at 260ºC/500ºF with top on (if using) for 20 minutes
  12. Turn the oven temperature down to 230ºC/450ºF and bake for another 10 minutes
  13. Remove the top of the baking vessel (if using) and bake for 20 minutes or until the colour of the crust is as desired and the internal loaf temperature is at least 90ºC/200ºF
  14. Remove the loaf from the oven and place it on a wire rack and allow it to cool for at least an hour before slicing
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Adapted from Breadtopia
Adapted from Breadtopia
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Mushroom pasty

Home-made mushroom pasty made with sourdough pastry | H is for Home

I’ve been wondering for ages what I’d choose for this week’s Cakes & Bakes recipe. You see, it’s Sourdough September and I wanted to make something more than a just a plain sourdough loaf. I’ve come up with a mushroom pasty recipe using sourdough pastry.

Sourdough September logo #SourdoughSeptember

I only feed my sourdough starter in the summer months – our old, stone house just isn’t conducive to developing the warmth-loving wild yeasts for much of the year. When the temperature drops and the wood-burning stove needs to be sparked up, I store a small batch of starter in the freezer to revive again the following year.

Sourdough starter | H is for Home Sourdough starter | H is for Home

This sourdough pastry recipe is very similar to plain shortcrust pastry but the taste is so much better – and it’s more buttery and flakier too.

Sourdough pastry ingredients | H is for Home Sourdough pastry ingredients | H is for Home

I’m sure some Cornish people and other pasty aficionados will be up in arms with my mushroom pasty recipe. However, I’m vegetarian and a meat pasty isn’t tempting. I used Rustica mushrooms. However, you can use any kind – button, woodland, chestnut, wild… add a handful of garden peas if it takes your fancy. I used Maris Piper potatoes, but as with the mushrooms, it’s down to personal preference or what’s to hand. Also, a bit of onion, garlic and fresh thyme.

Cooked mushrooms and potato | H is for Home Cooked mushroom and potato mixture | H is for Home

We have some 20cm/8-inch starter plates that are the perfect diameter for a pasty pastry cutter. Just roll out the pastry, place a plate on the top and cut around it with the tip of a sharp, pointy knife.

Circle of sourdough pastry | H is for Home Filling a circle of sourdough pastry | H is for Home

I picked up a(nother!) tip from Nadiya Hussain for making pasties. Use the tip of the self-same knife – this time, the un-sharp side of the blade – to just gently push the pastry inwards at 1cm intervals to crimp.

Uncooked mushroom pasty | H is for Home

The recipe made 6 pasties; I cooked off half of them for immediate consumption – and put the other three into the freezer for a later date. They were truly delicious. Justin and I agree that this pastry is one of the best – if not THE best I’ve ever made – and the simple combination of flavours in the filling worked brilliantly too. 

Two freshly-cooked mushroom pasties on parchment paper | H is for Home

Click here to save this mushroom pasty recipe to Pinterest for later.

Mushroom pasty
Yields 6
Made with a delicious, buttery sourdough pastry!
Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the pastry
  1. 185g/6½oz plain flour
  2. 1tsp salt
  3. 225g/8oz very cold butter, cubed
  4. 225g/8oz cold sourdough starter
  5. a little beaten egg to glaze
For the filling
  1. 250g/9oz potatoes, cubed
  2. 30g/1oz butter
  3. 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  4. 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
  5. 250g/9oz mushrooms, sliced
  6. sprig of thyme
  7. salt & ground black pepper to tasteHome-made mushroom pasty ingredients
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For the pastry
  1. Sieve the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor
  2. Scatter the cold, cubed butter over the top of the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the butter breaks up into small chunks
  3. Spread the sourdough starter over the top of the flour/butter mixture
  4. Pulse again until the mixture just starts to clump together a bit, but is still crumbly. The dough should feel like it will stay together if you pinch it with your fingers
  5. Lay out two strips of cling film at right angles to each other and empty the pastry mixture into the middle
  6. Bring the mixture together using the lengths of cling until it just about comes together into a ball. Quickly flatten the ball into a round, wrap and chill for an hour in the fridge
For the filling
  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, just cover the potatoes with cold, salted water and bring to the boil for 5 minutes
  2. Using a colander, strain the water away
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat
  4. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until they're soft but not browned
  5. Add the mushrooms, thyme and salt & pepper and continue to sweat until the mushrooms have softened
  6. Strain any liquid away (or you can reserve this to make a mushroom sauce using a dash of cream)
  7. Mix the potatoes into the mushrooms until well combined
  8. Set the mixture aside to cool
To finish
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Divide the pastry into 6 equal pieces. Put five back into the fridge to keep cool while you make the first pasty
  3. Form the pastry piece into a round and roll out on a floured work surface
  4. Place a side plate on to the pastry and cut out a circle
  5. Spoon some of the cooled mushroom filling into the centre of the pastry
  6. Brush around the edge of the circle with water, carefully fold the pastry over into a semi-circle - keeping the filling away from the edge
  7. Gently press the edges of pastry together before crimping
  8. Repeat this process until you have used all the pastry and filling
  9. Put the pasties on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops with a little beaten egg
  10. Bake for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before eating
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Cranberry almond biscotti

Home-made cranberry almond biscotti with cup of coffee | H is for Home #recipe #biscotti #baking #biscuits

Are you a biscuit dunker? I’ve never been one for dipping my biscuits into hot liquid. However, these cranberry almond biscotti have made me change my ways!

Wet & dry cranberry almond biscotti ingredients | H is for Home

I’ve seen biscotti being produced on the Great British Bake Off but I’ve never tried my hand at making a batch.

Cranberry almond biscotti dough in a cake tin | H is for Home

Biscotti are Italian, twice-baked almond biscuits usually served with Vin Santo – a dessert wine from the same region of Tuscany. It’s this liquid that you dip your biscuit into before eating – I’ve only tried it with coffee so far – but give me time!

Baked cranberry almond biscotti | H is for Home

The traditional recipe is flour, sugar, eggs, pine nuts and almonds. However, there are updated versions that include an array of ingredients such as dried fruit, hazelnuts, pistachios, spices, lemon, coffee and chocolate.

Sliced cranberry almond biscotti | H is for Home

Biscotti is the plural of biscotto but I’ve never heard that term in my life. Perhaps it’s because it’s impossible to eat just one!

Knives between cranberry almond biscotti slices | H is for Home

Researching recipes, I discovered that there is such a thing as a biscotti tin. I don’t think I’ll be making biscotti often enough to warrant getting one – I used my 18cm/7-inch square brownie tin and it was more than adequate at tackling the job.

Cranberry almond biscotti cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

For its second bake, I sliced and transferred the cranberry almond biscotti on to a baking sheet and used stainless steel knives (don’t use knives with wood or plastic handles) to prop them up on their sides.

Home-made cranberry almond biscotti in a glass biscuit jar | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest!

Cranberry almond biscotti
Yields 15
Ingredients
  1. 70g/2½oz butter, melted
  2. 135g/4¾oz granulated sugar
  3. ½tsp salt
  4. 2tsp baking powder
  5. 2tsp vanilla extract
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 120g/4oz plain flour
  8. 120g/4oz semolina flour
  9. 115g/4oz dried cranberries
  10. 115g/4oz chopped almondsHome-made cranberry almond biscotti ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/ Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a biscotti pan or large baking sheet
  3. Stir together the melted butter, sugar, salt and baking powder
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract and then the eggs
  5. Blend in the flours, cranberries and almonds
  6. Place into the prepared biscotti pan, leaving a 2cm/¾-inch margin free on each side of the pan, to allow for expansion. If you're using a baking sheet, form the dough into a flattened log about 28 x 10cm (10½ x 4 inches).
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool for an hour
  8. Slice on the diagonal into 4cm/½-inch thick pieces. Place them back on the baking sheet, standing them on edge if you can; this will ensure they bake evenly
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC/325°F/Gas mark 3 and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden
  10. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack
  11. They can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks
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Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Peanut butter brownies

Slice of home-made peanut butter brownie and mug | H is for Home #recipe #brownies #baking #cookery

We’ve got a wonderful recipe for you this week – delicious peanut butter brownies. And there’s a bonus for some of our readers who have certain dietary requirements.

Peanut brownies mixtures | H is for Home

This peanut butter brownie recipe is taken from a cook book of low FODMAP dishes. FODMAP is an acronym for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols”. It’s a diet recommended for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, functional bowel disorder, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Coeliac Disease. Don’t let the fact that you’ve got a healthy digestive tract make you think that this brownie’s not for you – it’s amazing!

Peanut butter brownie batter in square tin | H is for Home Spooning warmed peanut butter into peanut butter brownie batter | H is for Home
Peanut butter pattern in peanut brownie batter | H is for Home Cooked peanut brownies | H is for Home

Slightly crispy on the outside… soft, sweet, chewy and gooey on the inside. Eat it hot or cold… on its own, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or thick pouring cream.

Sliced peanut brownies | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe on Pinterest for later!

Peanut butter brownies
Yields 6
Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 175g/6oz of unsalted butter
  2. 200g/7oz dark chocolate
  3. 75g/3oz crunchy peanut butter
  4. 125g/4½oz smooth peanut butter
  5. 3 eggs
  6. 175g/6oz of caster sugar
  7. ¼tsp of salt
  8. 50g/1¾oz self-raising flourHome-made peanut butter brownies ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6
  2. Grease a 30 x 20cm (12 x 8 inch) brownie tin and line it with parchment paper
  3. Put the butter, chocolate and crunchy peanut butter into a heat-proof bowl on a saucepan of simmering water over low heat and warm until just melted
  4. In a separate, small saucepan, gently warm through the smooth peanut butter
  5. Put the eggs, sugar and salt into a large bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved
  6. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the melted chocolate mixture and self-raising flour
  7. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin
  8. Drizzle over the smooth peanut butter in 3-4 straight lines, then 'drag' through the peanut butter with a skewer or toothpick to create a marbled effect
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cake is just firm to the touch, but has a slightly fudgy texture
  10. Allow to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes then lift out the block onto a board using the lining paper and cut it into 6-9 squares
  11. Serve warm or cold, on its own or with a scoop of ice cream or pouring cream
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Adapted from The Low-FODMAP Recipe Book
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/